I've got a relative with a four-cour AMD Phenom II 3.0 gHz CPU (can't remember exact specs) and ATI 5750 1GB graphics card, running Ubuntu 10.04.

Right now I am aware of VLC and Mplayer for playing video files. But when playing 1080p mkv files, etc., the video stutters and lags pretty badly.

Are these media players taking full advantage of the multi-core CPU and graphics hardware? Is there a software tweak, or just another video player that I could try?


  • This has nothing to do with CPU and should be directed to the grahics card for native rendering/decoding. For example, my zotac hd-id11 has an nvidia ion on it and a intel atom CPU, when I play 1080p content my cpu sees like 3-7% usage.
    – Chris
    Oct 8, 2010 at 17:20
  • OK, but do those programs automatically take advantage of the graphics card? Or is there another media player that does this?
    – hpy
    Oct 8, 2010 at 20:34

3 Answers 3


VLC now supports GPU for h.264, with a bit of extra config, check out the wiki.

Non-h.264 (and MPEG2) will still be handled by the CPU, but I would think a Phenom II 3gHz would do just fine. I think there is a different problem with your system. My main computer is a POS PIV D 3 gHz and only has issues if I am running another heavy job simultaneously (this is with out VLC's extra GPU functionality)

Perhaps there is and issue with your x config? xorg on my machine sometimes takes 50% + at ideal... I haven't bothered and just restart KDM when it happens.

You could also if your player priority for one of your cores so it doesn't have to share:

best of luck!


There's an experimental multithreaded version of ffmpeg at http://gitorious.org/ffmpeg/ffmpeg-mt, it might be possible to use that with either mplayer or VLC.


You could try xine. It can use multiple cores for some video types, however as far as I know not for all.

  • Will give it a try, thanks! Does anyone know if VLC or Mplayer uses multiple cores?
    – hpy
    Oct 6, 2010 at 22:07

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